How Katy Perry, Adele, Lady Gaga, and Others Followed Up Their Hit Albums

Katy Perry
Katy Perry released her fifth studio opus, Witness, in June.  She’ll launch a tour to support that work late this summer.

Her trek kicks off Sept. 7 at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio.  The North American leg is scheduled to wrap Feb. 5, 2018 when Katy Perry performs in Vancouver, B.C.

Look for K.P. in Philadelphia on Sept. 18, Brooklyn on Nov. 11, and Atlanta on Dec. 12.  She plays two shows in Toronto, Boston, and Chicago.

Katy Perry also has two concerts planned for New York City.  Three shows are booked for Los Angeles.

Perry is an artist that’s released a very successful album.  I don’t mean an album that went to number one and sold a few copies.  I mean an album that sold millions and millions of copies, produces several hit singles, and won numerous awards.

Her historic album is Teenage Dream (2010).  The work went to number one in several countries, including the United States, sold more than six million copies, and was nominated for seven Grammy Awards.

Even more impressive, the album produced five number one singles.  Only one other album in the history of the world has ever done that, Michael Jackson’s Bad (more on that album later).

The success of Teenage Dream catapulted Perry into the record books, but it also put her in a tough situation, perhaps the toughest situation in music.  That tough situation is making an album after you had a monumental hit.

Her follow-up to Teenage Dream was Prism (2013).  It debuted at number one and eventually sold more than four million copies.  Instead of five, it produced just two number one singles.

Perry’s follow-up to Prism is the aforementioned Witness.  It hasn’t been released long enough to compare sales figure, but it did debut at number one (although it dropped to #13 the following week).

It should be noted that critics seemed to like Witness a lot less than they liked Teenage Dream or Prism.  That’s saying something because neither received many rave reviews.

How did the success of Perry’s follow-up compare to the follow-ups of other artists who released historically important albums?  See for yourself.

Below, are ten artists, their hit records, their follow-ups, and brief descriptions of their successes.

Adele
Hit Record: 21 (2011)
Follow-Up: 25 (2015)
Adele’s 21 was the bestselling album of 2011 and 2012, it won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and set a record for most weeks on the Billboard 200 for an album made by a woman. Adele’s next opus saw a 35 percent drop in sales—21 sold 31 million copies while 25 sold just 20 million. Like her debut, 25 won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

Alicia Keys
Hit Record: Songs in A Minor (2001)
Follow-Up: The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003)
Two Grammy ceremonies before Beyoncé won five, Alicia Keys took home the quintet. Songs in A Minor has sold about 13 million units. Quite a feat for any singer, but especially impressive when you consider Keys was 20 when all this went down. Her follow-up avoided the sophomore slump. The Diary of Alicia Keys sold eight million copies and picked up three Grammy awards.

Beyoncé
Hit Record: Dangerously in Love (2003)
Follow-Up: B-Day (2006)
Beyoncé has yet to match the success of Dangerously in Love—eleven million in sales and five Grammy Awards. Her follow-up, B-Day, and the follow-up to that, I Am… Sasha Fierce, both sold more than eight million copies. Dangerously in Love and B-Day both peaked at number one. Then again, every Beyoncé album has reached the top spot of the Billboard 200.

Britney Spears
Hit Record: …Baby One More Time (1999)
Follow-Up: Oops!… I Did It Again (2000)
Britney Spears’ first two albums were released during the waning moments of when fans still bought physical copies of music. Together, her first two LPs combined for 45 million in sales. Both were gigantic successes, but her debut made her the “next Madonna,” a cultural icon, and a household name.

Bruno Mars
Hit Record: Unorthodox Jukebox (2012)
Follow-Up: 24K Magic (2016)
Doo-Wops & Hooligans (2010) sold as many units as Unorthodox Jukebox, six million, and both produced two number one singles. Doo-Wop was nominated for seven Grammy Awards but won none. Jukebox won a trophy for Best Pop Vocal Album. Unorthodox reached the zenith of the album charts. Doo-Wop only got as high as number three. That’s why I’ve picked Unorthodox Jukebox. His follow-up to that record, 24K Magic, failed to summit the Billboard 200 and has yet to sell 2 million units.

Eminem
Hit Record: The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
Follow-Up: The Eminem Show (2002)
The Marshall Mathers LP (34 million) is the bestselling album of the 21st century. The Eminem Show (30 million) is the fourth best. He followed that up with Encore (2004). That oeuvre sold 21 million copies. Altogether, Eminem has released eight studio albums. Five have sold more than 10 million copies.

Lady Gaga
Hit Record: The Fame (2008)
Follow-Up: Born This Way (2011)
If you include The Fame Monster, then The Fame has moved more than 15 million units. Rolling Stone magazine ranks The Fame as one of the greatest debuts of all-time. How did Lady Gaga follow it up? She released Born This Way three years later. That collection has sold around six million copies. Interestingly, The Fame stalled at number two, but Born This Way reached the top of the album charts.

Linkin Park
Hit Record: Hybrid Theory (2000)
Follow-Up: Meteora (2003)
Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory is the bestselling debut of the 21st century. It has sold more than 30 million copies. Three years later, they released Meteora. It wasn’t the cultural phenomenon of Hybrid, nor was it rated as high its predecessor, but it did reach the top spot. Hybrid Theory halted its climb at the penultimate position.

Michael Jackson
Hit Record: Thriller (1982)
Follow-Up: Bad (1987)
Michael Jackson’s Thriller can easily be a follow-up to Off the Wall (1979). At the time, critics asked how he can Jackson best Off the Wall? He did. Thriller is the world’s bestselling album of all-time—sales figures exceed 65 million. It also won eight Grammy Awards. Besides the five number one singles, Bad sold more than 30 million copies and earned six Grammys.

Norah Jones
Hit Record: Come Away with Me (2002)
Follow-Up: Feels Like Home (2004)
Norah Jones is another artist on our list who has won five Grammy Awards in one night. She achieved the feat thanks to Come Away with Me, an album that’s sold more 27 million units. What most music fans don’t know is her album actually won three more Grammys (eight in total), but those went home with other people. Her follow-up, Feels Like Home, sold just over 12 million copies and earned Jones an additional trophy for her crowded mantle.